Investing.com – Oil futures ended Friday’s session slightly higher, rebounding from bear-market territory as investors went bargain-buying after prices fell to the lowest level in almost four months amid persistent concerns over a supply glut.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, for delivery in September fell to a daily low of $40.57 a barrel, a level not seen since April 20, before recovering to end at $41.60 by close of trade, up 46 cents, or 1.12%.
Despite Friday’s modest gains, New York-traded oil futures lost $2.60, or 5.86%, on the week, the second weekly decline in a row. For the month, U.S. oil prices dropped 14%, its worst monthly performance since last July.
WTI crude futures are nearly 20% lower from their 2016 highs above $50 a barrel scaled in early June, technically placing it in bear market territory, as signs of an ongoing recovery in U.S. drilling activity combined with elevated stocks of fuel products weighed.
Oilfield services provider Baker Hughes said late Friday that the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. last week , the fifth straight weekly rise and the eighth increase in nine weeks.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, increased by 452,000 barrels last week. Despite being in the midst of the peak summer-driving season in the U.S., gasoline stocks are well above the upper limit of the average range, according to the EIA.
The report also showed that rose by a surprising 1.7 million barrels to 521.1 million barrels, which the EIA considered to be “historically high levels for this time of year”.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, for October delivery tacked on 30 cents, or 0.69%, on Friday to settle at $43.53 a barrel by close of trade after dropping to an intraday low of $42.52, the weakest since April 18.
For the week, London-traded Brent futures declined $3.24, or 7.07%, the second straight weekly fall.
Brent prices ended July with a monthly loss of 12.7% as prospects of increased exports from Middle Eastern and North African producers, such as Iran, Libya and Nigeria, added to concerns that a glut of oil products will cut demand for crude by refiners.
Brent is down almost 18% since peaking above $50 in early June, as high inventories of gasoline products cloud the future outlook for crude.
According to market experts, elevated stocks of fuel products amid slowing global demand growth is expected to keep prices under pressure in the near-term.
In the week ahead, oil traders will be focusing on U.S. stockpile data on Tuesday and Wednesday for fresh supply-and-demand signals.
Market players will also continue to monitor supply disruptions across the world for further indications on the rebalancing of the market.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
Tuesday, August 2
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.
Wednesday, August 3
The U.S. Energy Information Administration is to release its weekly report on oil and gasoline stockpiles.
Friday, August 5
Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.